Recipes that appear in Idea Alley have not been tested by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
I was intrigued by a request from Linda Webb for a dish called Potato Chop that was served at a place called Eat Your Heart Out in downtown Little Rock back in the 1970s. The family-owned restaurant was known for its Middle Eastern cuisine and dancers.
A previous request for the recipe described the dish as “potato patties but in a ‘puffy’ ball shape. The coating was similar to mashed potatoes but thicker, and the filling was like a spicy shepherd’s pie. Apparently baked, it formed a light crust outside, and perhaps had been brushed with oil or butter.”
The following recipe differs slightly from that description, but it may be close enough that Webb and others can tweak it to suit their memory.
It is adapted from hildaskitchenblog.com. The name of the dish is a transliteration, as Hilda explains the dish is called “poteta chap” in Assyrian.
“The word for ‘potatoes’ in Assyrian is ‘kirtopeh.’ However, it is possible that Assyrians picked up this term during the British colonization of Iraq during WWI. …
“The second part of the name, however, makes a little more sense. The word ‘chap’ sounds similar to ‘chapeh,’ which means ‘clapping’ in Assyrian. When making Potato Chop, you use a clapping motion to shape the patties. So the name of this recipe would be a description of how these potato patties are made.”
However, those familiar with Indian and Bangladeshi cuisine may notice potato chop is a lot like aloo chop, but with different spices.
Assyrian Potato Chop
- For the filling:
- ¾ pound lean ground beef
- 1 small onion, minced
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon ground red (cayenne) pepper, optional
- 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- For the potato dough:
- 1 (13.75-ounce) box instant potato flakes (Idahoan Mashed Potatoes, recommended)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups warm water
- Vegetable oil for frying
In a large skillet, cook beef, onion, salt, black pepper, paprika, allspice, red pepper and parsley until beef is browned and onion is tender; cool.
In a large bowl, combine the potato flakes, eggs, salt and warm water by hand to form a dough.
Stuff a golf ball-size ball of the potato dough with one heaping tablespoon of filling. Flatten the filled dough balls between your palms into a disc, using a back and forth clapping motion.
Heat vegetable oil to 375 degrees. Cook the patties, in batches, until browned on both sides, about 2 minutes per side.
Drain potato chops on paper towels.
Makes about 24 patties.
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I’d love to hear all about what you’re cooking. The new recipes, the old ones, the easy ones and the complicated ones. Do you have a go-to dish when the weather heats up? A dish for which everyone begs for the recipe when you take it to a potluck? Tell us about it.
Has your cooking changed with the recent increases in grocery prices? Are you learning to re-invent leftovers into new dishes? Did you improvise a new way to make a favorite dish without all the ingredients you usually use?
Is there an old Arkansas dish you’d like researched? Perhaps something your granny made that isn’t found in modern cookbooks?
Do you have a question about a new-to-you cooking term or ingredient?
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